How to Tell if CPU Cooler is Seated Properly [4 Tested Ways]

Written By Steven Arends

CPU coolers transport heat away from the processor by absorbing heat from it, allowing it to run more efficiently.

However, it might cause a lot of issues for the system if it is not installed properly on the CPU

So, in this article, I will demonstrate some tried and true ways for determining whether your CPU cooler is properly fitted.

Let’s get started.

How To Know If Your CPU Cooler Is Mounted Properly

If your CPU temps range between 149 °F (65 °C) and 167 °F (75 °C) while under the workload and 50 °F (10 °C) and 59 °F (15 °C) while inactive, your CPU cooler is properly installed. But unless your temperature is higher than that, you might want to double-check your mounting again.

And make sure your CPU cooler is not loose.

Before determining whether your CPU cooler is properly mounted, I suggest removing the motherboard from your chassis to get a better sight of the CPU cooler. If you are unable to do it, you can even install the CPU cooler without removing the motherboard.

Simply follow the methods listed below to complete the checking process.

Here are a few ways to know whether your CPU cooler is correctly mounted:

1. Examine the CPU Cooler Setup

You must examine a few factors to determine whether your AIO or liquid cooler is properly installed over the processor. As soon as you discover these factors, you will be able to tell whether it is properly installed on your CPU or not.

First, check to see if there is any room between it and the Processor top, as air may be passing through that space. Air is a poor thermal carrier. It lowers thermal efficiency and has an adverse influence on cooling.

Another factor to look for is if the Processor bracket wobbles a lot. If you see wiggles, it signifies the link is weak and the assembly will be less efficient than it ought to be.

You should also inspect your CPU’s push pins because if they are not correctly positioned, your cooler will not make an appropriate connection with the Processor and will not adequately cool it.

Furthermore, some CPU coolers use screws rather than push pins. As a result, proper continued stress between the heatsink and the Processor is critical. If you apply excessive force, you risk damaging the motherboard.

As a result, you must tighten the screw without being too tight or too loose. Uneven tightness when installing the cooling system might result in numerous issues.

Finally, you should inspect the thermal paste between the heatsinks because the thermal paste is a good conductor of heat. It occupies these tiny areas, allowing for maximum heat exchange.

If you find these indicators in your CPU cooler, it signifies your CPU cooler is not correctly fitted into the motherboard and has to be properly installed.

2. Check the Functioning of Your PC After the Installation

If your CPU cooler is not properly mounted on your computer, your system will behave weirdly and do unexpected things.

These problems include system stopping while gameplay, frequent pc starting problems, unpredictable restarting or shutdowns, and a single Processor core being warmer than the remaining cores.

These incidents usually occur when the processor becomes overheated. In most cases, the processor overheated because the CPU cooler was not functioning properly, and it also indicates that there is a malfunction in the CPU cooler or that the cooler is not properly mounted on the motherboard.

3. Monitor the CPU Temperature

Temperature is another indicator that your CPU cooler is not functioning properly. So you also need to monitor your CPU temperature and find if there is any difference between the minimum and maximum temperature.

If your highest temperature is greater than 90 °C while working and greater than 50 °C while idling, your CPU cooler is not correctly placed. Simply follow the instructions below to perform a temperature check.

For our demonstration, we will utilize Open Hardware Monitor, which is a free temperature testing program.

The following section describes the temperature testing procedure:

  • Download Open Hardware Monitor and install it.
  • Open the application.
  • Check the Temperature section under the processor

The processor’s lowest and maximum temperatures are listed in the Temperature section. If you notice a higher temperature than usual, make sure your CPU cooler is correctly placed.

4. Run a Stress Test

A less stressed CPU may not be able to generate heat. For that reason, the CPU cooler does not have to do as much work. Therefore, if the cooler is not correctly installed on the processor, the user is unaware of it.

As a result of the stress test, the processor will be used 100% of the time, and the user will be able to monitor the maximum temperature of the CPU and determine whether their cooler is properly mounted.

We shall use CoreTemp for our demonstration. Simply follow the instructions in the section below to begin testing.

Here’s how to perform a stress test:

  • Download CoreTemp and install it.
  • Open CoreTemp and go to the Bench option.
  • Click on the Stress CPU button.bench-stress-cpu

When you press the Stress CPU button, the app will overload your processor. Everything, including CPU frequency and frequency usage, is displayed on the left side of the CoreTemp menu.

In the meantime, you must monitor your CPU temperature during the stress test. If it is higher than usual, it is possible that your CPU cooler is not correctly positioned on the processor.

How to Know if the CPU Cooler is Working

Notice the movement and liquid flow if you’re using a liquid cooler. As long as it’s buzzing, it means your cooler motor is functioning and the cooler is ok. For an air cooler, simply observe whether your fan is spinning. If it’s spinning properly, it’s working.

You can also inspect the water level in your liquid collier. If the water level is lower than usual, it indicates that your cooler isn’t working properly and must be filled before it causes damage to the cooler.

You may also check the temperature of your CPU. If your CPU temperature is higher than normal, it indicates that your CPU cooler is not functioning properly.

Finally, if you experience lag or freezing during regular stress on your computer, this indicates that your CPU is overheating and hurting computer performance.

So there must be a problem with the CPU cooler because it is unable to extract heat from the processor effectively.

How to Tell if Your CPU Cooler is Bad

If your system crashes while gaming or heavy workload, and your system restarts or shuts down unexpectedly, you have a bad CPU cooler. Also, if you see that a single CPU is hotter than the rest cores, this indicates a faulty CPU cooler.

You need to understand whether your CPU cooler is working properly or if the cooler has gone bad.

When your CPU cooling fails to function properly, the CPU overheats under severe workloads or games.

The CPU cannot operate at its full frequency due to overheating. As a result, the system may stutter or freeze without notice.

Another indicator of a malfunctioning cooler is when one CPU core is hotter than the other.

If you notice varied temperatures for different cores, this indicates an issue with your cooling system, and it is unable to disperse heat from the processor.


Users will not receive the best performance from their computer if their CPU cooler is not correctly installed over the processor.

So, in this article, I demonstrated how to determine whether your CPU cooler is properly fitted.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them in the space below.

About The Author
Steven Arends is a computer science graduate and tech enthusiast with over 10 years of experience in the field. He has a vast collection of computer hardware and loves exploring the latest advancements. As a contributing author to 10Scopes, Steven shares his expertise to make the world of technology more accessible and easier to understand for all readers.

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